Antique Mineral Water Bottle Found During Downtown Naperville Construction

June 28, 2022
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Monday morning Resident Engineer with CivilTech Engineering Arthur Politowicz was working on excavating a 110-year-old water main underneath a small brick bridge structure on Jefferson Avenue, when he discovered an unknown orange-hued object sticking out of the ground.

What Was This Object?

It turns out this mystery item was a mineral water bottle that was manufactured in Germany in the 1800’s.

“Bill Novack with the city’s TED Department believes the water bottle was not there when the water main was installed. His best guess is that it has been in the ground for 75 to 100 years,” said Danielle Tufano, Executive Director of the Downtown Naperville Allience.

Photo courtesy: Downtown Naperville Alliance

Other Hidden Treasures

This isn’t the first time that a piece of history has been found during construction. Tufano said local crews have discovered all sorts of things while working underground.

“I spoke with the Resident Engineer just a little bit ago and he said they have seen vintage pop cans and some cool packaging,” said Tufano. “He knew this was something cool as soon as he got it out of the ground. He said that chances are, crews were working in that area and someone just threw their mineral water bottle down into the work area and it ended up being covered.”

And there’s still more excavation to come, with the downtown Naperville streetscape renovations still underway.

Naper Settlement’s Possible Involvement

When told about the discovery, Tufano’s thoughts turned to Naper Settlement.  The local museum is in possession of many items that represent Naperville’s past, like salt and pepper shakers from the 1950s, old photographs from the 1800s, and even a handkerchief from WWI.

“I have reached out to the Settlement and they’d like to have a conversation about the bottle. They want to know more about it to see if it is something that they could feature. Naper Settlement is such a great historical resource for our community. I think this could be a great part of Downtown Naperville’s story, said Tufano.

Naperville News 17’s Anthony Yench reports.

Photo courtesy: Downtown Naperville Alliance

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